Recently, President Trump cancelled a strike on Iranian targets as punishment for their shooting down one of our drones in international airspace. The Iranians, of course said that the drone was in their airspace but then the Iranians were probably just being provacative, as they always have been. The call for some type of retaliation came from a briad spectrum here in the US, with those on both the ideological left and right demanding something be done to discourage the Iranians from these types of actions. This was on the heels of course of the mining of two oil tankers, in the Straits of Hormuz, also blamed on Iran – this time with actual video proof. Are these reasons alone to start what may turn out to be a full-fledged conflict with Iran?
Iran has been a bad actor in the region since day one: No one denies that they actively fund and support terrorist activities around the world and that they cannot be trusted to live up to any nonaggression agreement to the point of developing a nuclear weapon that could be miniaturized, and placed upon a missile to create havoc in the same region, if not beyond. Is any of this, which has been ongoing for decades, enough to launch military strikes against them, placing our men and women in danger once again? Is any kind of conflict winnable over a short period of time? The answer to both of these, at least for me, is a firm no.
I say this as someone who’s seen war firsthand and the cost in life and treasure that will never be recovered. The Middle East is a mess and for anyone to believe that we, the US, can fix it, is fooling themselves. My proof? Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, even other North African countries such as Tunisia being dragged down the path of chaos. All of this is due to Western policies, failed polices to remove dictators (Iraq, Libya), stem terrorism (Yemen, Syria) that being to make these countries into Western-style democracies. None of this is new and these policies began long before any of us that are alive today. The blame can be placed at the end of the First World War (1919), when diplomats met not only punish Germany for their hegemony, but to also carve up nation states it what was then the Ottoman Empire. Iraq, Iran, even Saudi Arabia, didn’t exist as nation states before then.
None of the current states existed before that, outside of North Africa, and with the advent of discovering vast reserves of oil, made these same states infinitely powerful among other nations in the world (Think: the 1970’s and OPEC). Since those early days, all of these countries have to one extent or another waged a war on the West. Terrorism became the result and many, even those we consider allies (Saudi Arabia) have supported terrorist organizations (how many Saudi’s participated in 9/11?) and to some extent, still do. So we, the Western democracies, have had to make deals with actual devils. Iran has been implacable in their activities but does that mean we need to go to war with them or would imposing economic sanctions be a better way, though long term, way to change a regime that openly promotes violence around the world?
I think the latter would be best if we could get our partners in the West to agree. When there were these type of sanctions, there was a lot of pressure on that government. In 2011, there was what has been called, The Arab Spring where millions in the Middle East, including Iran (fyi, Iran is not an Arabic country. They are Persian. They don;’t speak Arabic, but Farsi) rose up against their current governments. Where was the West in support of any of this? Nowhere.The 2015 agreement with Iran, pushed by the Obama administration, virtually ended all or most of those sanctions and was signed on by our Western allies as well. Recently, the US have reimposed sanctions, but it has been difficult to re-engage our allies simply because they see Iran as a cash cow for business, and it is.
Since 2015, the Iranians have been involved in a proxy war in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have died as well as Syria, supporting the Assad government along with the Russians where, last year, it was estimated that more than 500,000 civilians had died since 2011. 500,000. How much more blood needs to be shed? What level of military force would need be applied to Iran to end this hideous regime?
At the end of the Second World War, the US had plans for the invasion of the islands of Japan. When queried by the then Truman administration of the numbers of dead, the military estimated that some 250,000 troops would be killed in action taking Japan by force ( out of a total of 2,5 million troops required). Of course, their population had already been brainwashed to believe they must oppose us at every crossroad, in every town and village. That probably wouldn’t occur in Iran as there is already a substantial opposition that exists, but still, what would be the cost? Not all Iranians oppose their government. If they did, it would have changed years ago, without any outside intervention. How many troops would it take on the ground and how much airpower would be required? The best estimate I found is something like 500,000 ground troops would be required. You can guess the casualties from that.
Those, on both sides of the ideological divide calling for some sort of military intervention with Iraq need to step back and understand the cost, in blood. Mostly these same people need to understand, just in recent history, that any intervention in any of these countries have provided no solution. In the coming months, we will have been in Afghanistan for 18 years. 18. No resolution to that conflict is apparent and we probably should have learned from the Soviets (who departed after being there 10 years) that this is a country that could not be pacified.
We, the West, caused the current turmoil in what was once Libya, and we are exasperating the same in Syria, where like Libya, it’s the innocent that are caught between forces and pay the heaviest price. What would happen in Iran if we did begin a conflict? We already know, don’t we? In no country, since Korea , have we produced the outcome desired. In fact, in some countries in our own hemisphere, we’ve only created more chaos, and made enemies of those that should be allies. We can’t and shouldn’t be, the worlds police force. If there’s no direct threat to our country, there are other methods to bring down oppressive governments. Think Venezuela, where in the press, it seemd imminent that we were going to invade. Instead, targeted sanctions. Those D.C. warmongers (politicians and journalists), have no story to report or stand before cameras to pontificate.
Is there ever a reason to go to war? Of course there is but it should be due to a direct, imminent threat to our country, not just that, sometime in the future, a regime will become a threat to us. We have more than one solution to an enemy country. The last should be war. Although there have been many criticizing President Trump on his decision to not respond militarily (yes, even CNN!), he made the right decision. Does killing 150 or more people, become the right response to taking down an unmanned aircraft? Of course not, and those calling for a more direct response are those that support the Military Industrial Complex which, back in 1960, President Eisenhower (remember him?) in his outgoing speech to America, warned us of. Of course, no administration since, Democrat or Republican, paid attention but maybe there’s now a time when we should revisit what we heard from the man that everyone agrees, won the War in Europe.
We need to end our interventionist intentions. No single country should be allowed to police the entire world and if there is a need to intervene, it should be a consensus of our allies that demand that intervention. Those countries should provide the requisite resources as well. No single country can stop all of the bloodshed we witness currently. It’s a nice thought that we can end all war, and that all peoples would get along. We don’t live in the world of Star Trek. Religious, political divisions will always occur, and sometimes those lead to conflicts that only affect those that want to just live their lives, raise their families. Is America, or any other country responsible to ensure those peoples have safe, prosperous lives? No. What we do need to admit is that we (the West) are responsible for many of the conflicts that occur within our purview
No. We don’t t need to start another war. We need to use our economic power, not only with Iran, but with out allies to prevent a rogue regime, Iran, from gaining any power in the area.